Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

PC Meeting was Very PC

No, not THAT PC, but there was a definite showing of Public Concern.  Not a very elegant way to say it, but it was very nice nonetheless.  Besides the points made that clearly had the public's interest in mind when discussing urbanization, the Commission also briefly discussed citizen involvement as their role as the Citizen Involvement Commission.  (Two Commissioners for the price of one last night!).

As the planning meeting progressed, the commission engaged in a thorough discussion on annexation - when was annexation appropriate, land owner choice, the cost of providing services to newly annexed properties and the cost to annexed properties to hook up to city utilities and pay utility fees for something they were getting essentially for free (sewer) in the past.

Annexation might be a plus property owners when their septic system fails and they are facing the prospect of putting in a new one, or when the land is to be partitioned for [infill] development.  But for homeowners who living in the unincorporated parts of the Urban Service District (USB), this could carry a significant cost that makes an affordable home and lifestyle commensurately unaffordable.

When discussing urbanization outside the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB), the Commissioners were concerned with how development in the Stafford area would impact Lake Oswego - principally roads and utilities.  McVey and Stafford might bring lines of cars trying to get onto Hwy. 43 overwhelming neighborhood collector streets.  They suggested that developers pay the full cost of development if and when they requested services from Lake Oswego: Currently Lake Oswego's SDCs (System Development Charges) do not cover the full cost of development.

PS:  My comments about the Stafford Hamlet were countered with the Commission's concern's about how future development there would impact LO.  This concern is wholly appropriate and I am glad
they are thinking about this.  My concern is that local jurisdictions be allowed to make their own plans on future development independently of an overseer like Metro.

In fact, one Commissioner, Adrianne Brockman, recalled that in the past when CRAG (Columbis Region Association of Governments) managed regional affairs, it was an assembly of local elected officials who brought their concerns to the table and worked the out problems as individual jurisdictions using their own staff.  Currently METRO has umpteen staff members working on plans that seem to be quite different than what individual jurisdictions want. Instead of our local elected officials speaking for us, they are relegated to a representative committee, if they get that opportunity at all!  In many ways, CRAG was a better model for giving cities a say in how they developed.


  1. The point you make about Metro staff is excellent. Lake Oswego needs to control and direct its own staff in dealings with Metro. For example, in reading about the 20 year population forecast for Lake Oswego, it appears Metro staff and L.O. staff are kindred spirits and agree on a 25% increase. But I'd bet big money that no one understands the implications of that "official" forecast. It means greater housing density (unless we annex Stafford - is that why that is in the water project forecast?). When the full Lake Grove plan comes into view for everyone they will not like it. It is Wizer development on Boones Ferry Road.

  2. You've heard that the devil is in the details, well, in land use planning, the devil is in the community development codes. There is a reason Lake Oswego has about 1,000 pages of codes - they are what bind developers and citizens into schemes that further the cause of increased density and fewer automobiles. Low-density suburbs are bad - high-density cities are good. And yes, Lake Grove is doomed to become a wall of 4-story mixed-use retail and apartment buildings with inadequate parking for either purpose. The city will pay for parking garages (they make the mess and then take our money to clean it up) . As with everything that comes from Central Planning everywhere, it will be a disaster. Utopia doesn't exist, and the planners' idea of perfection is a cruel joke on us. I wonder how many of them live in the apartments they like for the masses?

    So get out the word. Make people aware. Show them pictures. I am trying to put some photos on this blog because there's nothing like a picture to make 2-D plans come to life. But we all need to be involved in the comp plan and code re-writes and demand changes that will make the city into what WE want, not what someone else thinks we should be. This is tedious work, and it's maddening that we are paying people to do work that we have to monitor. I'm up for the fight and the attitude of the public is changing. The planners should take note.